I don’t know about you but I can’t seem to get in the festive spirit this year. November was a rather dark month and I hope that wherever you’re reading this from that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
I am not quite ready to roll on the Christmassy posts, hopefully as the 25th approaches, I’ll be a bit merrier and share what Dublin has to offer at this time of the year. In the meantime, I really want to post about my hometown, Brussels. Seeing it portrayed by the media as a macabre terrorist den and the numerous shots of post-apocalyptical empty streets shook me a bit. Maybe it’s a tad shallow and silly but I wanted to fight off the gloom by reminiscing here the good times I had this Summer when I visited family and friends. Brussels is a joyful city with so many great spots to enjoy a meal or a drink so here are a few recommendations from me to you to celebrate Brussels awesomeness (by the way if you’re visiting Brussels this month, you’re in for a treat, the Christmas market is blooming lovely).
COOK & BOOK
I had made a mental note to check out this restaurant ever since I saw it featured in the National Geographic’s Top 10 Bookstores in the world. Cook & Book does what it says on the tin, you eat in the middle of a bookshop. Food and books, isn’t that Heaven?! The restaurant counts 9 rooms, each with a different theme. For instance, you’ll find the cookbooks in the diner, general fiction in the main hall where books cover the ceiling or the English bookshop is in a cosy tea-room. My friend surprised me by booking us a table in the travel section… Obviously! In the middle of the room stood a caravan and our tables were lit by repurposed Campbell tomato soup cans as lamps. It was the perfect setting for an overdue catch-up with a life-long friend over a lovely meal, topped off by scrumptious American pancakes.
Place du Temple Libre, 1
My friend Celestine really knows all the best places to eat in Brussels. I always look forward to seeing where she’s going to take me whenever I get to meet her. This time, she presented me with a short list and her description of Knees to Chin immediately tickled my fancy. This place specialises in rice paper rolls, which I’ve been absolutely obsessed with this year. I started making them at home after seeing this recipe on the Minimalist Baker’s blog, so I was excited to sample some in an actual restaurant. There were delicious and a great source of inspiration. I also loved the cute location which manages to mix conviviality and minimalism in a very photogenic way.
Rue de Livourne, 125
This is another of Celestine‘s awesome finds. Ever since going to Lisbon, I’ve been dreaming of sinking my teeth into another pastel de nata. Unfortunately, it ain’t an easy feat in Dublin. But back in Brussels, Celestine introduced me to the sweetest pastelaria called Forcado. Not only their Portuguese egg tarts are on par with the ones I ate in Lisbon but they add their own little twist to the 200 year old recipe: flavours. Yes, flavoured pasteis de nata, isn’t that genius? There were lemon, chocolate, coffee and speculoos ones … and the menu is updated regularly with limited editions. Cherry on top of the cake, the sweet treats can be enjoyed in the cafe’s highly instagrammable space blessed with bright light, marble-top tables and a Scandinavian feeling infused with a modern Portuguese design.
Chaussee de Charleroi, 196